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Symptoms of Arrhythmias (Heart Rhythm Disturbances)

Most people don’t notice heart rhythm problems. The come and go, and are hard to predict. In most cases, the heart fixes its missteps and keeps beating as normal. But, in others, the missteps can last longer. This keeps the heart from working as it should. Long lasting issues can be caused by rhythm or other problems.

Symptoms of Conduction Problems

When your heart can’t keep up with your body’s needs, you may start to notice problems. The most common are:

  • Fluttering or skipped, extra, or hard heartbeats—palpitations
  • Heart beats to fast—tachycardia
  • Heart beats too slow—bradycardia
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Fainting—syncope
  • Having weak muscles
  • Feeling tired
  • Problems with breathing
  • Problems thinking clearly—mild cognitive impairment

Symptoms of Ischemia

Ischemia is a restriction in blood flow. It can happen any place in the body, even the heart muscle. The heart and body need a certain amount of blood to work properly. A drop in blood flow can lead to:

Over time, having lower blood flow can harm and scar the heart muscle. This can lead to arrhythmias.

Some arrhythmias you may feel are harmless, but others may cause a stroke, heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, or death. If you have any of these, call for emergency medical services right away.


Arrhythmia. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: Accessed January 7, 2019.

Atrial fibrillation. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated August 22, 2018. Accessed January 7, 2019.

Symptoms, diagnosis and monitoring of arrhythmia. American Heart Association website. Accessed January 7, 2019.

Ventricular arrhythmias. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated October 19, 2018. Accessed January 7, 2019.

Ventricular tachycardia—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated October 28, 2018. Accessed January 7, 2019.

Last reviewed December 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC  Last Updated: 1/7/2019